Best Lever Upgrade?

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Lever_Man

#1: Post by Lever_Man »

Hi.

I have a seven year old La Pavoni Professional. I make a couple of cappy's for myself each day. I have a Macap stepless grinder. The Pav has been a good machine but I'm thinking of an upgrade for my primary machine.

If I were to want to increase the espresso quality and foam, what would be the best lever for personal use (other than the Cremina with their insane price increase)? In other words, what lever is better than the Pav? (Please don't say all...)

Also, if I do upgrade, will their be a noticeable difference?

Thanks.

Javier

#2: Post by Javier »

Hi Lever_Man,

I own a Gaggia Factory (La Pavoni Professional), and I am quite happy with it. Just like you, I also pull 2-3 shots in the morning and make a couple of cappas for myself each day. I am also doing my research for an "upgrade" from the Gaggia Factory. The reasons I would like to upgrade from the Gaggia Factory are: bigger boiler, capability of pulling several (i.e., 4+) shots in a row without overheating issues, the capability of pulling 2oz shots (without blonding), and, as part of the hobby/passion, we always want to upgrade :wink: .

I guess what I am trying to say is that a commercial 58mm lever machine might be what you are looking for. This is exactly what I am aiming for.

Best regards

Javier
Woodbridge, VA

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Lever_Man (original poster)

#3: Post by Lever_Man (original poster) »

Thank you, Javier.

I am not familiar with commercial levers. My primary interest is maximizing the quality of the output. Assuming that the best espresso can be obtained from a lever, the question becomes is the Pav the best machine for CONSISTENTLY getting the best quality espresso. (Consistent quality is important to me.

If not the Pav, which machine?

Keep the comments coming!


Lever_Man
Fairfax County, Virginia

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peacecup

#4: Post by peacecup »

All of my lever experience is with the spring lever Ponte Vecchio Export, and I have not tried a manual lever like the Pavoni. You might read the recent thread on the pressure pullmod:

First ever lever pull pressure mod

The point here is that if you can train your arm to pull consistently, you can improve the repaeatablity of your results. Commercial levers use a spring, which removes the variable of human pulling pressure. Home spring levers are modeled after these. Home spring levers, however, appear to provide less pressure than one can provide with a manual. So, if you can get very consistent, theoretically a manual could give a bit more crema (via more pressure).

My idea on the Pavoni vs. Cremina (wholely unsupported by personal experience) is that the precision of the Cremina could provide one with a slight edge in repeatability.

Then there is the new Achille, with its HX mechanism, and larger group size.

Can you "upgrade" from a Pavoni? Maybe a "sidegrade" would be a better term - other machines might offer differernt flavor profiles, shot volumes, larger number of consecutive shots. If you read Karlschneider's posts on the Cremina and Elektra (two of the more expensive and presumably well-built manual and springs levers, respectively), you'll see that he rates them as different, not better or worse. He calls the combo a great "two group" machine!

PC
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

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chopinhauer

#5: Post by chopinhauer »

I just went from an oldish pavoni europiccola (1980 simple 2 switch model) to an even older 1973 cremina (in very good condition) and I can notice the difference of quality (the cremina is better. and can make more good shots in a row than the la pav).

Would I spend all that much money on a new one? Not unless I had money to spare (which I and most of us don't), but I would be game and try and get one off ebay. For $1,000 you should be get one in good nick and not too old, say, a late 80s model.

A good second hand cremina is definitely a step up from the pav. If you are very well backed by funds and want an amazing machine for all eternity there is NO reason not to get a brand new machine. I think the hype regarding these machines are true. The cost reflects, less the quality of the machine (which is as high as they say) but the where they are made (Switzerland) and how many are made per year (very, very few).
LMWDP #027

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Latte Jed

#6: Post by Latte Jed »

Why isn't there a pro-sumer lever available?
Izzo makes a commercial single lever model, the Pompei with a 58mm portafilter.

Izzo also makes a fine prosumer model, the Alex with an e-61 group.

Why not bolt the Izzo Lever to the Alex as an option?

Chris Coffee?
LMWDP #076

mattwells

#7: Post by mattwells »

Chaz - I have wondered that myself. The closest thing is the Ponte Vecchio Lusso, but that isn't quite 'prosumer' to the same level as Alex, La Spaz, etc. I have wondered why Quickmill, Expobar, et al. none have a prosumer lever machine. It would seem pretty simple to do and bring out at a low price point (there is very little excess mechanical, electrical, etc. in lever machines). I guess they think there isn't enough of a market for one, I would disagree, but what do I know, I am just an enthusiast.

Nice photoshop, BTW.
Matt Wells

LMWDP #160

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Javier

#8: Post by Javier »

Hi Chaz,
Why isn't there a pro-sumer lever available? Izzo makes a commercial single lever model, the Pompei with a 58mm portafilter.
I asked a similar question to Chris a few months ago. Apparently (as Matt stated) there isn't enough market for one. Chris also referred to that Izzo commercial 58mm single lever machine.

Your Photoshop job looks great. We can only hope.

Javier

Javier

#9: Post by Javier »

Hi again,

I just e-mailed Chris the following message:

Hi Chris,

We have corresponded in the past.

Could you please check the current Home-Barista thread "Best Upgrade Lever" (Lever Forum)? Apparently there are many people (i.e., from that particular thread, and many others in Home-Barista lever forum) interested in a "prosumer" 58mm lever machine. I am sure your business connection with Izzo (how about Andreja?) could convince them to introduce a "prosumer" 58mm lever machine here in North America.

Just a thought.

Thanks Chris, and have a great day.


Hopefully this will bring to his attention there might be a market for that type of machine.

Javier

happytamper

#10: Post by happytamper »

peacecup wrote: Can you "upgrade" from a Pavoni? Maybe a "sidegrade" would be a better term - other machines might offer differernt flavor profiles, shot volumes, larger number of consecutive shots. If you read Karlschneider's posts on the Cremina and Elektra (two of the more expensive and presumably well-built manual and springs levers, respectively), you'll see that he rates them as different, not better or worse. He calls the combo a great "two group" machine!

PC
This is definitely a good point. It seems each machine makes a slightly different cup. And each person has his/her own way of using the machine. So many variables. Grind, tamp, pressure, temperature. I think it is great to have a few different types of machines and after a little experience with each you can pull out the machine which best suits the taste you would like at the time.

Manual steam machines (like your La Pavoni) for full flavoured, thick espresso and caps.

Manual gravity fed machines (like a Caravel) for lighter and perhaps longer shots with no steam capacity.

Spring levers in each of the above types (Steam type can be an Elektra, Gravity type can be a La Peppina) which takes away the flow or pressure control. Though some spring levers enable a bit of flow/pressure control.

I am referring to older machines as I have no experience with the newer models.

To your question about different tastes. I find each machine has it own range and the most discernable differences are when different types or categories of machine are used.
Mitchell
LMWDP #77